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"Thank Poland" Ceremony in Warsaw Parliament

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Warsaw, 16 February 2005 -- Today 30,000 signatures of a "Thank Poland" letter were handed over to the Polish Government at a ceremony in the Polish Parliament. The ceremony took place during a meeting of the European Union Affairs Committee of the Polish parliament. Representatives of various ministries and members of the European Parliament took part. In their speeches, they criticised the incoherence of the European Council's current software patent directive draft, which Poland is being forced to approve, and they stressed that by objecting against the adoption in the Fishery Council three times, Poland at least won the time needed by the European Parliament for launching a restart of the procedure. The goal of Poland had been to make sure that the Council would have to renegotiate its current text.

Story

More than 30,000 verified signatures from people all over the world were on the "Thank Poland letter" given to Minister Marcinski today.

On December 21, 2004 Poland had surprised everyone by insisting that the EU Council's proposal for a software patent directive should be taken off the agenda of that day's "Agriculture and Fishery Council" meeting where the item had been slated for debateless approval as a so-called "A-item".

The European Union Contacts Committee of Polish Parliament has formally received the thank-you from programmers and computer users on behalf of Poland as a whole.

Almost all Committee members were present as well as MEP Jerzy Buzek, former (1997-2001) Prime Minister of Poland.

Government was represented by Minister for Education and Sport Miroslaw Sawicki, Undersecretary of State for European Relations Tadeusz Nowakowski and Undersecretary of State for Science and Information Society and Technology Wlodzimierz Marcinski.

The agenda started with "A-items for Thursday's ECOFIN meeting". After brief information about other planned A-items, the Committee Chair, MP Robert Smolen asked for a status of the software patents directive.

Minister Nowakowski shortly presented the directive's history, expected developments and future procedural options. He pointed out that is was not easy to block an A-item, especially for the first time in December, and Poland did it three times and achieved its procedural goal: European Parlament got time to procede with the restart request.

Minister Marcinski said that this action was possible only with support from the whole parliamentary Committee, which twice expressed support for his actions. Also the wide political support from all sides of political spectrum was important. Restart is the best solution because it will make possible to discuss and prepare new text in an orderly manner.

MEP Jerzy Buzek thanked the Committee for its support and said that the restart motion should be described as a joint initiative of all Polish !MEPs from all parties. All of them lobied their respective european parties to get such an impressive result of JURI voting.

According to Norbert Bollow, who created the thankpoland.info website, the introduction of software patents would fundamentally infringe an essential human freedom right, comparable to requiring politicians to ask some big companies for approval before the politician is allowed to say something in parliament. Even when only a small percentage of people have programming skills or a seat in parliament, it is to everyone's benefit when programmers like politicians are allowed to express themselves in freedom.

Outline

The meeting of parliamentary European Union Affairs Committee started at 12.30.

Almost all members of Committee were present as well as MEP Jerzy Buzek, former (1997-2001) Prime Minister of Poland.

Government was represented by Minister for Education and Sport Miroslaw Sawicki, Undersecretary of State for European Relations Tadeusz Nowakowski and Undersecretary of State for Science and Information Society and Technology Wlodzimierz Marcinski.

Agenda started with A-items for thursday's ECOFIN meeting. After brief information about other planned A-items Chair of Committee, MP Robert Smolen asked about a status of software patents directive (no one in Poland is buying the "computer implemented inventions" doublespeak).

Minister Nowakowski shortly presented history, expected developments and the future procedural options for directive. He pointed that is was not easy to block an A-item, especially for the first time in December, and Poland did three times and achieved its procedural goal: European Parlament got a time to procede with restart request.

Minister Marcinski said that his request was possible only with support from the whole parliamentary Committee which twice expressed support to his actions. Also the wide political support from all sides of political spectrum was the important enforcement. Restart is the best solution because it will make possible to discuss and prepare new text in orderly manner. The main problem with directive in Council version from May 18th is its convoluted wording and internal contradictions.

MEP Jerzy Buzek thanked Committee for its support and said that the restart motion should be described as a joint initiative of all Polish MEPs from all parties. All of them lobied their respective european parties to get such an impressive result of JURI voting. He shortly described the most important deficiencies of currently proposed version of directive and asked Committee for support in future efforts to get better proposal from Commission.

Wladyslaw Majewski, President of ISOC Poland, introduced Norbert Bollow and shortly described history, goal and motivations of ThankPoland.info initiative.

Norbert Bollow gave book with ThankPoland letter and 30.000 signatures to ministers Marcinski and Nowakowski. He thanked them for their action.

Immediately after this item of committee agenda was closed all of us moved to Ministry of Science and Information Scociety and Technology building for press conference. Mr Buzek was present there as well. Journalist asked several questions to minister Marcinski, Norbert Bollow, and Florian Mueller form No Software Patents initiative.

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